Track Notebook: Tracksters try to turn up the heat

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Track Notebook: Tracksters try to turn up the heat

Iowa runner Aaron Mallett pushes to the finish line in the men's 110 meter hurdles at the Iowa Musco Invitational in Iowa City on Saturday, May 3. Mallett placed first in the event. (The Daily Iowan/Rachael Westergard)

Iowa runner Aaron Mallett pushes to the finish line in the men's 110 meter hurdles at the Iowa Musco Invitational in Iowa City on Saturday, May 3. Mallett placed first in the event. (The Daily Iowan/Rachael Westergard)

Iowa runner Aaron Mallett pushes to the finish line in the men's 110 meter hurdles at the Iowa Musco Invitational in Iowa City on Saturday, May 3. Mallett placed first in the event. (The Daily Iowan/Rachael Westergard)

Iowa runner Aaron Mallett pushes to the finish line in the men's 110 meter hurdles at the Iowa Musco Invitational in Iowa City on Saturday, May 3. Mallett placed first in the event. (The Daily Iowan/Rachael Westergard)

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Hawkeye freshman Christian Brissett aims to continue his top Big Ten performance this weekend.

The Wyncote, Pennsylvania, native earned Big Ten Track Athlete of the week following his times in the 400-meter relay, 200 meters, and 100 meters during the Baldy Castillo on March 18-19 in Tempe, Arizona, the Hawkeyes’ first outdoor meet of the season.

Besides leading the conference in all three races, Brissett’s times put him in the top-10 nationally in each event (10th in the 100, seventh in the 200, and second in the 4×100).

The honor came on the heels of his first outdoor meet with Iowa.

“It was good; I was surprised,” he said. “It was the opening meet, I was pretty excited. It was a big accomplishment and a big honor.”

While starting off the season atop the conference and ranking among the nation’s best, Brissett knows there is plenty of work remaining.

“Hopefully [I get] 20.60 [in the 200] and 10.30, 10.20 [in the 100],” he said.

Mallett seeks to keep the hot streak burning

First-team All-American hurdler Aaron Mallett wrapped up the indoor season in style.

He broke the school record for the 60-meter hurdles in his first-place finish in the conference championship and finished third in the national meet.

While being the best 60-meter hurdler in school history, he believes that the best is yet to come.

“I think that I’m a better 110-meter hurdler than I am a 60-meter hurdler, so all my efforts are geared toward the NCAA hurdle title,” he said. “My team and I believe we can take a lot of events to the NCAA Championships in Eugene [Oregon], so my goal is to help out as much as I can and have as many All-Americans as possible.”

Even more important than individual honors are team placings, Mallett noted.

“We have a really good team this year, and I truly believe we have a shot at winning [the Big Ten title],” he said.

Last season, Iowa finished third in the conference meet behind Illinois and Nebraska.

Mallett claimed the 110-meter hurdle title in that meet and set the school record of 13.43 seconds.

Leading the pack

The distance squad did not compete often during the indoor season, but the outdoor season brings many more opportunities.

Sophomore Michael Melchert hopes to be one of the leaders in a young distance crew. Known by his coaches as an athlete who leads by example rather than his words, the Monticello, Iowa, native thinks that his actions will speak.

“Showing up to practice every day, ready to put in good, solid work will ultimately make my group follow the same pattern,” he said.

Last outdoor season, Melchert battled an injury, a stress reaction in his shin.

He views that performance-hindering injury as a chip on his shoulder.

“That injury gave me some much-needed rest and motivation to get back to the grind,” he said.

While Melchert’s coaches limited him in the 2016 indoor season, his presence on the track could be felt by many.

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